Certificate in Bridging to Canadian Physical Therapy Practice

Woman working on patients back in doctor office

Program Description

Registration for The Certificate in Bridging to Canadian Physical Therapy Practice 2024-25 program IS NOW CLOSED.

Please visit our Essential Skills in Physical Therapy Practice for IEPTS course page for info on related learning opportunities.

This certificate program is open to physical therapists (PTs) who have completed their physical therapy education outside of Canada and who have completed or initiated credentialing of their entry-level degree with the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR). Canadian educated PTs who have been licensed previously in Canada may also find the coursework applicable and beneficial for their return to practice.

The Bridging certificate program is offered in a blended/hybrid format with some courses being fully online/distance format and some requiring in-person/on-campus attendance.

The courses include:

  • Two online academic courses (EXFRM 2705 and 2707)
  • Two concurrent in-person lab courses (EXFRM 2706 and 2708)
  • One in-person experiential learning/mentorship course (EXFRM 2709)

The Bridging certificate program will take a minimum of 10 months to complete. The timing of the experiential course may extend the total time to complete.

Our delivery format supports adult learners to manage the majority of their study time at the time of day that best fits their needs. The on-campus skills lab component includes three 2-day lab sessions, one per month. Progress in the program will be assessed using written and practical skill exam formats.

Why Bridging?

One of the most comprehensive pathways for Internationally Educated Physical Therapists (IEPTs) to meet Canadian standards is through participating in a "bridging program". A bridging program offers significant advantages for IEPTs through courses designed specifically to bridge to the knowledge, clinical skills and judgment required to deliver safe and effective physical therapy care and support to adjust to Canadian culture and practices.

A bridging program is more beneficial when physical therapy knowledge and skills are current and experience working as a PT is recent. IEPTs are encouraged to consider the bridging program as soon as they have received their credentialing letter from the CAPR. A comprehensive bridging program supports those who do not have experience practicing as a primary care PT (independent or autonomous practice) or have other major learning needs.


  • Provide insight into your current physical therapy knowledge and skills.
  • Increase your understanding of how physical therapy is practiced in Canada.
  • Provide valuable experiential learning experience.
  • Enhance your clinical reasoning, professional communication and record keeping skills.
  • Support you to manage cultural differences.
  • Provide you with exam skills preparation for the physiotherapy competency. exams required for licensure.
  • Provide you with access to faculty and mentors.
  • Develop your network of peers preparing for the same goal.

The Bridging certificate program builds on the physical therapy knowledge and skills developed in the entry-to-practice education outside Canada and work experience as a PT.

The Bridging certificate program emphasis is on guiding learners to apply their knowledge and skills in patient scenarios initially practiced in the classroom and then progressed to the clinical setting through mentorship and experiential learning.

The Bridging certificate program does NOT guarantee successful completion of the CAPR Physiotherapy Competency Exam (Written/Qualifying), the competency examinations required by provincial regulatory Colleges in Canada, registration with the College of Physical Therapists of Alberta or another provincial College nor post-registration employment.

It does offer opportunities, structure and support to enhance knowledge; professional and communication skills and networking opportunities to develop skills that can greatly assist you in becoming registered.

Course Descriptions

EXFRM 2705 Professional Physical Therapy Practice in Canada I

This 12 week online course focuses on the development of the knowledge, skills and judgment required to deliver safe and effective physical therapy (PT) care in the Canadian setting, clinical reasoning and professional communication.

Prerequisite: UA PT Practice in the Canadian Health System course or another Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators approved course.

EXFRM 2706 Essential Skills in Physical Therapy Practice I

This course comprises 40 hours of on-campus clinical skills labs at the University of Alberta North/Main campus in Edmonton. This course aligns with content in EXFRM 2705 using a hands-on practical learning experience to enhance the participants' clinical skills and application of protocols, techniques, and standards of Canadian physical therapy practice.

Corequisite: EXFRM 2705

EXFRM 2707 Professional Physical Therapy Practice in Canada II

This 12 week online course consolidates the physical therapy skills required for assessment, interpretation/diagnosis, planning and treatment through the application of clinical decision making models, critical thinking and evidence-based practice.

Prerequisites: EXFRM 2705 and EXFRM 2706

EXFRM 2708 Essential Skills in Physical Therapy Practice II

This course comprises 40 hours of on-campus clinical skills labs at the University of Alberta North/Main campus in Edmonton.This comprehensive physical therapy skills course builds on the content and skills from EXFRM 2705 and EXFRM 2706 and offers application of the EXFRM 2707 content.  

Prerequisite: EXFRM 2705 and EXRM 2706

Corequisite: EXFRM 2707

EXFRM 2709 Mentorship and Experiential Learning in Physical Therapy Practice

This course includes on-site clinical mentorship at University of Alberta affiliated facilities. Mentorship is provided by clinical physical therapy (PT) preceptors who assist in consolidation of knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop PT practice readiness.

Prerequisite: EXFRM 2705, EXFRM 2706, EXFRM 2707 and EXFRM 2708

Fees + Expenses

Estimated Fees

Students will be responsible for paying: 

  • A $125 Admissions Interview Fee (non-refundable).
  • Course instructional fees ($950 per course + GST). 
  • There are a total of five courses and an estimated program total of $4750 + GST.
Funding Opportunities

Windmill Microlending

Loans are available, visit Windmill Microlending for more information including interest rates and eligibility.

Cheung Family Award
Endowed by Dr. Po Kee and Estella Cheung

Value: Variable


Eligibility: Awarded to students with satisfactory academic standing registered in a certificate program in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Selection based on demonstrated excellence in educational experiences, clinical skills and professional activities. Preference will be given to internationally-educated physical therapists registered in the Certificate in Bridging to Canadian Physical Therapy Practice program. Part-time students are eligible for this award.

Application: By application to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Continuing Professional Education office. A complete application package consists of a letter of intent that describes the applicant's qualifications and expected benefit to the profession.

Program Location
  • The online courses (EXFRM 2705 and 2707) can be taken online from any location.
  • The on-campus lab courses (EXFRM 2706 and 2708) will be offered at the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton. Each lab course consists of 6 days of learning over a semester (3 weekends per semester).
  • The experiential learning course (EXFRM 2709) will be at the University of Alberta affiliated sites and consists of approx 64 hours (8, eight hour days).
Program Expectations

Active and Collaborative Learning

IEPTs are expected to actively engage in class discussions, exploration of different perspectives with fellow students, make class presentations, work in groups on assignments outside of class time that require integrating ideas, assisting other learners by providing feedback and provide support to fellow students while developing skills in reflective practice. Students are expected to attend all in-person sessions. 

Student-Faculty Interaction

IEPTs will learn how qualified Canadian PTs think about and solve clinical problems by interacting with instructors, facilitators and mentors inside and outside the learning environment. Students can expect to receive written and verbal feedback from faculty on their academic performance, discuss grades or assignments with an instructor and discuss ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members

Clinical Reasoning Skills

As per the Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada (2017), Canadian physical therapists are independent practitioners who are required to make clinical judgements about assessment findings, synthesize and organize ideas, information, or experiences into new, more complex interpretations and apply theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations. IEPT learners will learn how to conduct initial assessments for patients with musculoskeletal, neurological and cardio-respiratory conditions, interpret the findings, reach a clinical diagnosis and design evidence-based clinical interventions.

Enriching Educational Experiences

Complementary learning opportunities will enhance the Bridging certificate program. Diversity experiences teach IEPT students valuable things about themselves, the health care system and Canadian practice. The campus environment will encourage contact among IEPT learners from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds. Clinical exposure facilitated by mentors who are registered PTs in the local community will provide opportunities to integrate and apply knowledge.

FAQs for Students

Are there any prerequisite courses?

Yes, you must have taken a CAPR approved Physiotherapy Practice in a Canadian Healthcare System course. Information about approved courses is provided to you within the credentialing process. Note that the UofA offers a CAPR approved course (link to our Physical Therapy Practice … ).

Can I live outside of Alberta and take the Bridging Certificate program?

Yes, we accept students from outside of Alberta as long as they can attend the EXFRM 2706 and 2708 course lab sessions at the UofA Edmonton Campus.

Can I complete the Bridging certificate program if I do not live in Canada?

No, you must live in Canada to complete the Bridging certificate program as there are required in-person components.

Do I have to complete the Admission Assessment Interview to be considered for the Program?

You must complete an admission assessment interview. The Admission Assessment is integral in the process of assessing if Bridging is the right path for you. Admissions interviews can be held online.

If the CAPR has verified that the language of instruction of my degree was in English do I still need to complete an English Proficiency Test?

Yes, we still require an English Language Proficiency Test score (preferably within the last 2 years) to ensure you meet the University of Alberta English Language Proficiency requirements unless your school or country is on the list of exceptions.

Application Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the Bridging Certificate (non-credit) program, the following are required:

Degree in Physical Therapy

Applicants must hold a degree in physical therapy from a university that has been assessed and recognized by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR). The CAPR must verify that an applicant's educational qualifications meet Canadian standards through credentialing ( www.alliancept.org ). Applicants will be asked to fill out a Verification Request Form and submit it to the CAPR at the time of application. This form cannot be completed until after an applicant has completed the credentialing process.

English Language Proficiency

Language proficiency is a very important part of the application process. Since English is the language of instruction and a key requirement for professional communication in Canada all applicants must be proficient in English before admission.

To succeed in academic courses, applicants must meet the minimum standard described below. While the bridging program does offer skill development in professional communication, applicants who require additional language support must obtain these communication skills before applying to the Bridging certificate program.

All passing scores must come from one sitting of the language assessment and must be taken within two years before applying to the bridging program.

The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine  reserves the right to require further demonstration of English language proficiency (Section 203.2.4 of the University of Alberta Calendar)

Authorization to Work in Canada

Applicants must prove they are eligible to work in Canada, as verified by Canadian citizenship or permanent resident card or open employment authorization,  which does not limit studies or work in health care. Additionally, students with open authorization to work must also have a study permit.

Applicant Commitment

Applicants must be available to meet the academic expectations for:

  • Hours in home based study, in-person sessions and experiential learning
  • Computer literacy and continuous computer and email access

A newer PC or Mac laptop computer (no older than approximately two years old) will be required. It should be capable of running the latest versions of Firefox or Google Chrome, Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader.

How to Apply to the Program

STEP 1: Complete the Admissions Interview Application and submit the required documentation as listed below. *Note that the link to the Admissions Interview Application will be posted once we begin accepting applications for the 2025-26 program.

STEP 2: After review of your application and documentation, you will be notified regarding your eligibility to proceed to the Admissions Interview. If eligible, a convenient time to conduct the interview will be scheduled.

STEP 3: After completing the admissions interview your assessment will be evaluated and you will be notified that either:

  • you were successful and are recommended to proceed to course registration.
  • you were not successful and may not proceed to course registration.

Email us at iept@ualberta.ca for more information or any questions regarding the application process.

Required Documentation

Applicants will be required to submit the following documents as scanned copies at the time of application. Original copies may be requested at a later date.

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, as well as English translations where applicable.
  • English Language Proficiency test results.
  • Proof of completion of a Physical Therapy Practice in the Canadian Healthcare Context course
  • Current immigration status documents.
  • Current resume.

You will also be required to submit a Graduation Verification form directly to the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators to confirm the status of your credentialing in Canada.

Review of Application Documents

The application and supporting documentation are checked to determine if they are complete and match the admission requirements. Incomplete files will not be considered.

Applicants with language proficiency scores that are close to but below the minimum standard may be asked to participate in an alternative communication assessment. There are no exemptions from language proficiency requirements.

Applicants who complete the Admission Interview will receive a written report on their performance. Recommendations for admission to the Bridging Certificate program are based on the Admission Assessment results and the credential requirements. Applicants who are assessed not to be ready for bridging may be advised to complete pre-bridging activities.

Applicant Selection and Admission

All communication from the Bridging Certificate program with applicants is by email. Please ensure you check your email account daily.

  • Applicants who meet all the admission requirements will be considered for the Admission Interview.
  • Up to 20 IEPT applicants may be invited to the Admission Interview.

Recommendations for admission to the Bridging certificate program are based on the Admission Assessment results and the credential requirements. Applicants who are assessed not to be ready for bridging may be advised to complete pre-bridging activities.

Admission Competency Interview Information

Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an online competency-based Admissions Interview. The Admission Interview assesses if an applicant's current standard of physical therapy knowledge, clinical reasoning and practice readiness is adequate for bridging. Detailed information about the Admission Assessment will be provided to invited applicants. The assessment includes:

  • A 100 question basic knowledge Exam.
  • Six Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Stations.

Admission Decisions

Recommendations for admission to the Bridging certificate program are based on the Admission Assessment results and the credential requirements. Applicants who are assessed not to be ready for bridging may be advised to complete pre-bridging activities.

There are limited spaces available for entrance into the program. It is not guaranteed that all candidates who meet admission requirements will be offered admission.